In light of the news early this week that some cycling advocates want to see a provincewide cycling strategy added to the political agenda, we asked our panel of 40 undecided voters to discuss the issue. What follows are edited excerpts from that online conversation.
Many of Vancouver's largest employers are not downtown – they are in Burnaby or Richmond, or even farther afield. Right now it would take me an hour to bike to work and an hour to bike back, and I'd be a sweaty mess at the end of it. … We have so many other traffic and transit problems in this city, more cycling lanes aren't going to relieve much pressure on them. I'd rather see the money put towards something that will substantively improve our commuting options, rather than something that's cosmetic and not fully considered. Solve our bus and train problems first, then worry about cycling.
– Lisa Fisher, Vancouver
I've spoken with a number of people who attend [UBC Okanagan] as students, faculty or for employment who have mentioned that they would like to bike there, but don't feel able to because of the dangers of biking on the highway. I think there's a great potential with bike-route projects to ease traffic congestion, parking issues and to promote healthy lifestyles. I would even be open to paying for a pass so that I, in part, funded any trail project.
– Elizabeth Williams, Kelowna
As an election issue, this means very little to me. As someone living outside of the Lower Mainland, it means even less. However, I don't object to it. The money requested is less than we spent on a new roof for a stadium, a new convention centre, a new highway to Gordon Campbell's Whistler Chalet, a new Port Mann Bridge, the Olympics and many other shiny baubles and trinkets that tax money from outside the Lower Mainland has funded, so from that point of view, it is likely reasonable. I might be more interested if a party finally promises to fix the Malahat and to give the residents of Sooke a second connection to the outside world.
– Chris Siver, Victoria
That cycling keeps me in better shape than I would otherwise be, while I save money and reduce my environmental footprint, makes it a no-brainer for me. That it would have this benefit for many others, while reducing infrastructure costs by reducing the punishment meted out to roads from vehicles and the costs of health care, should make it a no-brainer for local and provincial governments. With better infrastructure, more people would take up cycling, and the extreme cyclists would start to be outnumbered … by regular, law-abiding cyclists. Maybe even opinions of cyclists might improve.
– Adrian Mohareb, Vancouver